Hiu Kwan Esther Yung, PhD | The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Siqiang Wang, PhD; Angela YM Leung, PhD; Yi, Sun, PhD; Wayne LS, Chan, PhD
Competition Sponsor: Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
Award Year: 2023
Older people living in Residential Care Homes for the Elderly (RCHEs) have limited opportunity to access to public open space due to the mobility impairments or chronic illness, which may be harmful to their social and psychological well-being. Therapeutic garden can provide variety of health benefits to older people, but it is difficult to build it in RCHEs due to limited land resources in Hong Kong. This study innovatively applies the concept of therapeutic garden by using Cave Automatic Virtual Environment to build virtual therapeutic garden in RCHEs. It can provide older residents simulated experience of natural healing elements to reduce stress and improve psychological and emotional well-being. To facilitate the idea, older residents’ needs of therapeutic garden will be collected by conducting focus group and interview. The experimental design workshops will be organized with the residents to decide the key design elements of the therapeutic garden. Around 20 older people will be invited to use the virtual therapeutic garden once per two-week over a period of three months. Their perceived stress and psychological well-being will be compared by using Paired Samples Test to test the effectiveness of the idea. The descriptive analysis will also be performed to analyse the changes of emotional status, by analyzing the electroencephalography (EEG) of older residents during the usage of therapeutic garden. The idea could be applied to different RCHEs to promote older residents’ psychological well-being and health in the future.